Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros
May 26, 2019
Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros
The greater one-horned Rhinoceros also are known as the Indian rhinoceros is second in size after the elephant. Mostly found in South Asia and Southeast Asia these grey giants were hunted for sports by the rich and killed as an agricultural foe by farmers. This pressed the species close to extinction during the late 19th century. The population is currently being brought back from the perimeter of extinction by the commitment, management and strict protection of Nepalese and Indian wildlife authorities. The rhino population has recovered from less than 200 last century to around 3500 in north-eastern India and Terai region of Nepal.
The greater one-horned rhino has thick grey hairless skin that develops thick folds. Their skin has a maximum thickness of 4 cm. Both male and female rhinos have one horn which is usually 20-26 cm long and weighs up to 3 kg. The males have head and body length of 368-380 cm and weigh about 2200 kg whereas females are 310-340 cm weighing around 1600 kg. They have short but solid legs; these strong legs enable them to run 40 to 45 km per hour, impressive speed for an animal with such enormous size. They have poor eyesight but an excellent sense of smell and good hearing capacity.
Habitat and food
Rhinos live in the alluvial flood-plain vegetation of sub-tropical climates where water and grass are available all year. Rhinos are grazers. They feed on a wide variety of grasses, leaves, branches of shrubs and trees also submerged and floating aquatic plants. In the morning and at night, they eat. They use their semi-prehensile lips to grasp grass stems, bend it down, bite off the top and then eat it. They also tackle tall plants by walking over it and push it down towards mouth level by using their body weight. Mothers use these tactics to feed their calves as well.
Similar to royal Bengal tigers adult male rhinos mostly live solitary lives. The mating, fighting, and mothers with calves or subadults. However, during hot seasons, they wallow together in water holes in short term groups these groups consist of a dominant male, females, and calves but no sub-adult males. Mothers stay close to their calves until they are four years sometimes these sub-adults stay together until a newborn arrives. They are good swimmers.
In reaction to being disturbed by observers, adult male rhinos urinate backward, 3-4 m behind them. Usually, they are friendly with each other. They often greet each other by waving and bobbing their heads, nuzzling noses or licking, they play fight, and run around. The adult males are the primary instigators in fights. Fights between dominant males are the most common cause of their deaths.
Reproduction and Lifecycle
The males are aggressive towards females during courtship. They often chase females to long-distance or attack them face to face. The males reach their sexual maturity much later than females. A male younger than 15 years have been studied to successfully mate whereas females start breeding at the age of six. Which indicates that females need to be large enough to avoid being killed during mating by aggressive males. The gestation period is around 15.7 months. Mothers are ready for another birth 34-51 months later.
They have been recorded to live up to 35-45 years in the wild whereas in captivity one rhino has been known to live for 47 years.
Greater One-Horned Rhino in Nepal
The Population of greater one-horned rhinos in Nepal has increased by 21% individual from 2011 to 2015. The latest rhino count conducted in 2015 has revealed 645 individuals living in Chitwan National Park, Bardia National Park, Parsa National Park, and Suklaphanta National Park.
Recommended Package: One-Horned Rhino Tour In Nepal